Photos of Conan in Movies

Is It Time To Give Up Dreaming And Get A Real Job?

Friday, 23 February 2007

Should I give up my Hollywood Dreams and get a real job?

The continual chase, the lack of reward for effort put in, continually spending time and money to train and get better in a job that isn't delivering an income, dealing with situations beyond your control and the uncertainity and irregularity of income. Or I get a nice comfortable (safe?) job that pays me a good sized pay check each and every week?

This is a question I have had to ask myself often in my career, now more so than ever...

A friend recently emailed from Australia, he got a mutual friend a job at his security company earning $60,000 a year with full employment benefits (holidays, sick leave, bonuses, overtime, etc).

Another friend suggested if I go back to Australia, and as I already have experience in this field, within a year or two, if I took the correct career steps, I could get a job at a computer help desk that another mutual friend works at - pay starts at $80,000 a year with a normal 5 day and 8 hour work week, and 1 extra day off a week if you work weekends. ie That is $1538/wk for a 4 day week. Not a bad position at all.

(Note to American friends, Australian pay rates are considerably higher than US pay rates but that is because everything in Australia is considerably more expensive - for example what you pay for petrol is what Australians pay for roughly a quart (a litre)).

Hmmm... get a real job or... 

Compare that with the pay I am getting in Thailand per movie. You would not believe me if I told you, and if you did believe me you would think I was an idiot. Suffice it to say that a four letter word would accurately describe the pay level compared to Western movie industry pay rates.

The problem in Thailand is that so many foreigners are so desperate to stay in Thailand that they will work for $30 a day and they will write up massive lists of lies on resumes and experience lists, they will call themselves Stuntmen when the biggest stunt they performed was falling off their new bicycle when they were 5 years old. This of course makes it difficult for the local industry to cut through the crap when there are cultural and language difficulties also involved.

So for the last 3 days I have been contemplating my options - continue my rice and boiled chicken leg diet in Thailand in my cheap 'studio apartment' room in the hope that the next 3 movies make my career. (2015 UPDATE: lol, such a common mistake amongst junior talent - this almost never happens. You need to build a steady reputation over many films before you "suddenly' make it.)

OR do I go back to Australia and the safety of a 9 to 5 job that pays enough money that I am never concerned about where my next dollar is coming from?

It has now been about 8 months since my last decent job (L'ile Aux Tresors), and Bangkok Adrenaline is a low budget, low pay gig. My cash is seriously running out.

Foreign movies left the country and did not return when the military junta staged a coup and kicked out the previous Government, after that we had 3 months of rainy season and then the New Years Eve terrorist bomb blasts that continued for a week after. 8 months of very little foreign film work available throughout Thailand.

The Hannuman movie, where in I was originally told there would be about 6 weeks shooting has now been clarified to they want me for 3 days, at less than 1/2 the original pay rate that was discussed. Hmmm.....

The Baa Ram Ewe film we are yet to discuss pay, though I have been informed that there should be about 20 days shooting - and I liked the Producers, they were genuinely nice guys - I would like to work with them - but again that is not set to start until September or so.

Seven months away. 7 more months of sitting around, waiting to see if this is going to work.



ANSWER: There is always something more I can do...


I could get off my butt and start working harder to make it happen. Couldn't I? Am I doing everything that I possibly could to make it happen... or is there something more I could do?

This is what I have decided: 

I am now co-writing a book on Easy Muscle Gain via weight training, with an Advanced book and a Lose Fat Quick book to follow. The co-authour is Bangkok based Jon Hill from a long time friend and occasional training partner for over 20 years. These will supplement my advertising invcome from this website and hopefully help give me a livng wage from the internet.

I have started registering new domain names to start several new websites to generate additional online income. Each site makes a little money (this one included) but with 20 or 30 sites each generating a little cash the total sum should become enough to live on while I continue my dream.

I have taken steps to start another Script Writing project, since cancelled.

I have quit drinking alcohol, even though I can drink for free or for near enough to be considered free it is still a major drain of time and energy from my life.

I can move to an even cheaper apartment in a more remote area, away from other foreigners and really immerse myself in local Bangkok life.(UPDATE: Did this)

I can chase up further sponsorships (Thankyou to Musashi Thailand for current sponsorship) to further lower my cost of living (ie clothing, apparel, sports drinks, etc).

I can continue my goal of selling my investments in Australian companies at the appropriate time (Q3 2007?) and risk all to hit out for Hollywood.


What should I do? Give up after 20 years and 9 months or continue on for another 12 months to see if I have finally made that critical break (keeping in mind I have only been in Thailand for 17 months and only been speaking baby like sentences in the Thai language for 6 months).

Be a lazy ass or get off my ass?

Pretty simple when I boil it all down isn't it?

Give up on my life dreams and work in a 'real job'? No. Not just yet. Almost 21 years in the making, I could not give it up now when this is the closest I have been to achieving my goals. 

OK, so I won't throw in the towel yet, I will continue on my way and push it out until October when Sydney Dance Company have made me a firm offer to return to Australia for a re-run of "Berlin" at the Sydney Opera House. Then take it from there, but I have to go to Hollywood just to try, and try, and try. I believe I have what it takes, I just wish it would come a little quicker.

Until then lets hope that something decent comes along to feed me (besides selling my assets in Australia before they mature).


UPDATE 12 April 2007:

It is funny to see how things get their most dark and depressing just before the sun comes out.

I now have signed to a good part in the Thai movie production "Som Tam", I have a firm offer for another movie and it looks like I have been offered another large part.(UPDATE: the second two offers never eventuated)

These additional roles have changed my outlook and with solid rumours doing the rounds - the way that others in the industry treat me.

I have always heard that things get most difficult before they take off - just keep on going if you are having a hard time, you never know how far away a silver lining is.

BUT always remember to change your tactics and look for new ways if what you are doing is not producing results, do not get caught in the "previous investment trap" whereby you keep stubbornly pushing on because you already spent so much time on it.

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